How to Make Bicycle Tires Puncture-Proof?

One of the most frustrating jobs that every cyclist will go through is fixing a puncture.

It might be a fun task to do in your spare time but not when you commute to your work or go on a long trip. 

The tire can quickly deflate on contact with sharp objects like nails, glass, thorns, or pointy rocks. Whatever the quality, the pneumatic tires are going to get punctures one way or the other.

Thanks to the advancements in technology and continuous innovations from manufacturers, tires have been upgraded to endure penetrations and cuts. 

Bike Tire; Closeup (Source: Pixabay.com)

It is not hard to build a thick tire that will not get holed, but the problem is the heaviness, comfortability, and loss of grip that come with it.

The aim is to invent reliable tires with a balance on all these factors. 

There are several methods to get puncture-proof tires.

One is puncture-resistant tires that have been launched into the market.

The resistance either comes from the increased thickness of the tire or an additional protective layer embedded inside the tire. This protective layer is also called the sub-tread layer, the material composition of which varies among bikes of different brands. 

Another alternative is the solid tires that are entirely air-free such as Tannus Solid Tires.

Likewise, tubeless tires are approached by many riders today. 

Injecting sealants in regular tires can sound questionable but is affordable to installing tubeless if you already have a tubular tire. 

We will help you understand all these methods, and then you can choose one that suits you.

1.  Puncture-resistant tires with a sub-tread layer

The traditional clincher tires that are supplied with most of the bikes have two components in general.

One is the inner tube that holds the air, and another is the outer hard rubber casing that fits over the inner tuber and hooks onto the wheel’s rim. 

In between the inner carcass and tread of the outer tube lies the puncture-proof layer. 

This layer is implanted in the middle section that contacts the road as the objects are less likely to penetrate from the side walls.

Some tires come with the layer in sidewalls as well but with added tire mass.

A Section of Puncture Resistant Tires with Sub Tread Layer (Source: Amazon.com)

For the protection layer, Kevlar (used in bulletproof vests) is used widely by many brands. In contrast, some manufacturers engineer specific materials to make up the protection layer. 

Another critical feature that decides the strength of tires is threads per inch (TPI) which makes up the carcass.

Some tires have a high number of thinner threads, while some use a lower number of thicker threads.

Thinner threads are not that strong, but higher thread numbers give the flexibility to tire. So, the best option will be to get a tire with a decent TPI count.

Getting a heavier tire can be a fair-trade off to escape from puncture stops ruining your ride.

With weight comes the higher rolling resistance that may be unacceptable for professionals desiring speed. 

Top five picks for puncture-proof tires:

SNProduct nameBrandPrice range
1Continental Bike TireContinental34.95$ – 64.42$
2Bell Bike TireBell35.19$
3Schawlbe Marathon Plus HS Wire TireSchwalbe31.23$ – 87.29$
4Schwinn Bike TireSchwinn34.8$ – 77$
5Pirelli Bike TirePirelli57.99$ – 70.89$
A Table Showing 5 Best Puncture-Proof Tires

2. Solid tires

Solid tires are often criticized for higher rolling resistance as they are made up of foamy type rubber inside a hard rubber outer.

As the whole tire has no space inside, the chances of getting flat are zero.

However, the significant weight issue is the reason for solid tires getting less picked among the tire options.

The inside bubbly layer is not that efficient in offering a comfortable and smooth ride despite the speed problem.

However, Tannus Tires has been in trend recently for commute rides and short trips. The tires are made of a unique patented material called Aither 1.1

They are a bit expensive than regular tires, but they do offer a longer lifespan.

As per the Tannus website, they are guaranteed for around 5000 miles. Plus, they are compatible with most of the clincher tires. 

The solid tires will undoubtedly be better if they come at less cost and lesser rolling resistance.

A Section of Solid Tire from Tannus (Source: Amazon.com)

3. Sealant in tubular tire

People are always trying on new ideas and experiments to reduce the cost of having puncture-proof tires.

Did you know that you can insert the sealant into the regular inner tube? Well, people have tried, and it has worked surprisingly. 

The sealant may take some more time than the tubeless system to seal a hole and may not work on a particularly larger one.

However, it’s worth a shot for avoiding all the troubles of annoying pinch flats for going on a long and isolated journey. It may reduce the number of punctures, thereby saving time and money.

Check out the steps to top up the sealant in your tubular tires:

  • Get a sealant that is designed for the tube tires. One of the top sealants used for tube tires is Slime.
A picture containing diagram

Description automatically generated
A Tube Sealant- Slime (Source: Amazon.com)
  • Deflate the tire.
  • Remove the valve core with the help of a valve key or pliers.
  • Inject the liquid into the tube. Read the instructions on the sealant to get a measure of the required amount. Excess usage can bring wheel balance and alignment issues.
  • Tighten the valve core.
  • Pump the air to the standard pressure.
  • Give a spin to the wheel so that the sealant moves around the outer area.

Anyways you should be aware of the drawbacks as well before you use one in your bike tire.

Drawbacks:

  • Sealants are not a good idea for winter or cold regions as they can freeze, causing disbalance.
  • Some of them contain toxic ethylene or latex, which erode the tube and tire. Choose the ones with propylene.

4. Tubeless tires

Tubeless tires are the best bet to escape from evil punctures though you will have to pay more than a tubular tire.

The tire is glued to the rim like a traditional clinch tire, but they do not have tubes inside. 

The fitting is quite challenging to achieve. And tubeless tires do not go well with the rims of all bikes.

You may even have to get a new wheel to accommodate the tubeless tires. 

Despite the grueling procedure, tubeless tires are preferred by many cyclists for better puncture resistance.

The sealant oozes out immediately, trying to cover up the holes and, allows a puncture-free ride. 

Besides safe and comfortable riding at lower tire pressure, the better grip is a plus point of the tubeless.

However, you will have to bear costly sealant top-ups and deal with the back-breaking repair procedure, which can be messy. 

Here is my another article about Tubeless Tires. You can learn if they are better for your bikes?

You can learn the Advantages and Disadvantages of tubeless tires in detail.

5. Puncture-proof inner tubes

Practically, an inner tube holds the air or sealant and assists in speeding and puncture preventions.

A quality tube is more reliable in preventing punctures.

The inner tubes are either made from flexible and thinner latex, which provides lower rolling resistance or less porous butyl rubber.  

Besides rubber material, valve type is another component to inspect.

There are mainly two types of valve, Schrader and Presta.

Schrader valves are used in most bikes and are also termed standard valves. They have thicker and shorter stems than Presta valves.

In a high-end bike tire that holds higher air pressure, Presta valves are used.  

Here are our top five picks for inner tubes: 

Product NameBrandTube MaterialValve typePrice range
Schwalbe Inner tubesSchwalbeButyl rubber Schrader4.99$-44.99$
Bell self-sealing Bike tubeBellButyl rubber Schrader 3.95$-8.99$
Schwinn tubes (self sealing)SchwinnButyl rubberSchrader12.98$
Sunlite Thorn Resistant TubeSunliteButyl rubberPresta9.85$ -24.82$
Continental Tube for MTBContinentalButyl rubberPresta5.49$ – 44.99$
Table of Best 5 Puncture Proof Inner Tubes

Puncture-proof tires or solid or tubeless tires?

 There will always remain the dilemma of choosing between regular pneumatic tires and puncture-resistant tires.

The protection is there in the resistant tires, but you would have to sacrifice some speed, comfort, and even grip in some cases. 

Although, you will have a peaceful ride and can make the full out of it.

However, if you want to go completely puncture-free, you can opt for solid tires, which are great for short commute rides. 

But for most cyclists, the sacrifice is overwhelming.

Hence, it will be a personal preference for matters like how much they are willing to give up in exchange for a puncture-free ride. 

Injecting sealants is another cheap way to do so. A sturdy tire with a reliable inner tube is the best way to go.

If you are fed up with tubular tires, installing tubeless tires saves you plenty of tire flats. 

One should also determine the suitability of a tire considering the road type and surfaces he/she will be riding on.

Whichever the choice, it is impossible to keep your tire away from getting pinched forever. It never hurts to grab a spare tube and a repair kit like the old days.

1 Shares:
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like